“I will never, ever, work as a waitress. I don’t wanna serve people, I don’t like having to work with food. I wanna eat food! I don’t wanna prepare it for other and I don’t want people to ask me to do things for them. ‘Can I have some water?’, ‘Can you bring me the salt?’, no way! I am not gonna do that. I would just hate it. I barely pour water for myself! I rather not have an apple if I have to clean and cut it, how can I stand to do this for others?”
Then I moved to London.
My English wasn’t that bad when I arrived. That’s why I wanted a nice office job. But honestly, how was I supposed to look for an office job when even English people have a hard time finding one? Besides, I needed to work asap. I had a rent to pay, food to buy and possibly I had to save money for my not-so-far-even-if-still-unknown-master.
After spending a few days in the hostel trying to figure out how to find a job quickly I realised what I had to do: wear comfy shoes, print loads of CVs and find a nice way to ask: “Hello, do you have any vacancy at the moment?” without appearing too depressed or desperate or hungry or tired. Well, no, I wasn’t that bad. But certainly I was anything but motivated. When I moved here in March the whether was horrible (honestly, it still kinda is). I didn’t even have my own room, but I was sharing with sometimes 5, sometimes 25 boys and girls. Snoring all together.
In January I injured my foot jumping like a stupid kid. After one week of crutches and a couple of weeks walking like Dr. House, still feeling the pain I asked my Doctor: “Just avoid any effort, do walk the minimum and slowly it’ll get better”.
It wasn’t even a week after his severe suggestion that I was walking up and down the streets of London, the pain as big as ever, but knowing I had no choice – or else, back home.
I choose I wouldn’t have looked for a house until I had a job. What if I found a place where to live and then a job on the opposite part of the city? Nonsense. I kept the room in the hostel and went around begging for a job. Recruiting agencies, shops, restaurants. As a first job anything would have been good. I have to admit I even wondered about McDonald for like half an hour before deciding that if Mc was the only choice I would have gone back home for real.
Poor, but spotless.
One night I was going back to my hostel, without much hope, nor will. I happened to stop at Baker Street Station to look for some nice place where to have dinner. I found Nando’s and I had my moment of food happiness.
I guess just those who know me understand what I actually mean by food happiness.
Anyway, going back to the station after my meal I noticed, right at the corner between Marylebone and Baker St, an office advertising some office kind of job. Simple things. Personal Assistant, Data Entry. I made a mental note to pass by the day after and leave my CV just in case they might help me find something 9 to 5, well paid and possibly in which I could have dressed like a real secretary. Whoa!
There I was, the day after, all scared and performing my worst English trying to convince them I was exactly the girl they were looking for, even though I didn’t even know what I wanted myself. I left the recruiting agency less than 5 minutes later I got in, without any hope to keep me going and kept walking randomly on Baker St. As I walked I turned my head anywhere hoping to find some staff vacancy ad, then I saw it: “Grill Chef Required”.
Ok, the only thing I can cook is Carbonara, and not even properly. But I was confident. Few steps and I was inside the restaurant.
I walked further in and a blond girl came lazily towards me. She barely had the time to say “Hi” when I began “Hello, I’m sorry, I just wanted to ask you if you have any vacancy”. As I spoke I was mentally checking if I was saying everything properly. I didn’t want it to come out as it did in a restaurant in Soho where I said: “Do you have any vacation?” and they had been kind enough not to send me to a travel agency. I had my CV at hand and I gave it to her while she said: “You can speak to the manager”.
The manager? Already? No! No! I just wanna leave my CV, you can have a look, I’m sure you will find out I am not good for it, I have no experience, there’s no way I am gonna speak to the manager.
As I had all this mess in my mind a girl with black skin walked in my direction and introduced herself. I didn’t get her name. She asked me to sit with her and as she spoke I didn’t understand pretty much anything of what she was saying but I managed to say something. I explained I saw the ad for a Grill chef, but I was looking for a waitress position. She asked me many questions, she also told me that the blond girl was Italian but didn’t realised I was Italian too. I said I didn’t realise she was Italian either. I was just to lost in my thoughts to care about her accent.
Then the manager asked me to come back the day after for a trial shift.
God! I came here this morning to leave some CVs hoping to spend my months in London wearing nice dresses and uncomfortable high shoes and tomorrow I’m having a trial in a restaurant I don’t even know? What do they do? GB..what?? Never heard about it before. I didn’t even read the name of the place while coming in.
“OK, tomorrow is perfect. What time?”
Your Server is Elena
Today, August 26, its my last day at GBK. I have been working here for 5 months.
I loved it, I hated it.
It made me laugh, a lot.
It also made me cry, just once. – at least that I can recall.
I met wonderful people, and some assholes.
But most of the assholes were, in fact, customers.
And the blond girl who gave my CV to the manager became the closest thing I have had to a best friend in these months in London. And even if I tell her every single day that she is stupid, she manages to stand and accept my bad behaviour.
I am gonna miss Arianna and I am so glad I met her.